Scooter Store to Congress: Say no to rehab carve out

Sunday, January 13, 2008

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – The Scooter Store sent a letter to a “handful of congressional offices” last month, making its case that complex rehab should not be carved out of national competitive bidding.

In part, the one page letter, dated Dec. 14, reads: ”By now, you are aware of a few power wheelchair initiatives currently being considered by Congress. Among those initiatives is carving out complex rehab from the soon to be implemented national competitive bidding (NCB) program. The SCOOTER Store believes making exceptions like this will affect the integrity and the viability of the bidding process.”

In the letter, the Scooter Store also stated it had “concerns about the manner in which the program is being implemented city by city, rather than the other government procurement programs that are national in scope. We are concerned that this style of NCB is not the best operational decision for the Medicare program.”

When it comes to a carve out, it should be all or nothing, said CEO Doug Harrison on Frida.

“Clearly complex rehab ought to be carved out and clearly standard geriatric, which is more than one-third underutilized, ought to be carved out,” Harrison said. “But for the high-end rehab guys who do a minority of their business with Medicare to say, ‘Hey, save us. Take it out on the other guys,’ that is disappointing.”

NCART crafted H.R. 2231, the rehab carve-out bill. The customized nature of high-end rehab makes it inappropriate for competitive bidding, said Executive Director Sharon Hildebrand.

“NCART represents complex rehab providers,” she said. “If Congress, in its wisdom, decided it wanted to exclude all of power mobility, we would have no problem with that. But we felt we had a greater need to carve out complex rehab.”